Are You Ready for Electric Vehicle Showrooms at the Local Mall?

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JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images

While the U.S. leads the world in electric vehicle sales by a wide margin, the market share for alternative-fuel cars remains puny (less than 1%) on this side of the Atlantic. Things are different in Europe, which is why a new concept in EV marketing could catch fire abroad. Autoblog Green reports an EVEN store has made its way to the largest mall in Iceland. In effect, it is a Tesla store concept without limiting the selection to a single auto brand or model.

Wider EV selection

According to Autoblog, longtime EV enthusiast Gisli Gislason opened the first of the showrooms in Iceland’s biggest shopping destination. EVEN features the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, the Renault ZOE, and the Nissan e-NV200. Aside from the Model X, which has yet to make it to production, visitors to Gislason’s store have access to several of the world’s top-selling green cars in a single place.

The concept may be similar to Tesla’s approach, but the option to see four other EVs from the segment’s top manufacturers separates the store from anything you might find in the U.S. Even when automakers have joined forces to improve the prospects for electric vehicles, sales remain limited to a single brand or family of brands. While you can find a Tesla store shopping along Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, you can’t settle for a more affordable Nissan EV after you size up a Model S.

In Gislason’s system of marketing and selling green vehicles, these lines between automakers are nonexistent. Electric vehicles are the only constant.

2015 Nissan LEAF

Source: Nissan

 The EU’s different EV market

A glance at the EV market share in European Union countries explains why EVEN stores could work. Iceland, third in electric vehicle market share in recent years, trails only the Netherlands (4% in 2014) and Norway (14% in 2014) in electric vehicle adoption, Hybridcars.com reports.

France, Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany join these EU companies at the top of the pack in green car market share. Gislason plans to tap into that market if EVEN works in Iceland. According to AutoblogGreen, the entrepreneur hopes to open as many as 250 stores in the region. European countries face fewer problems in the road to EV adoption than the United States does, so the timing and location of the first EVEN store are both right.

As for the concept on U.S. shores, we have seen how automakers have agreed to jointly invest in infrastructure. Would General Motors and Ford join Tesla and the Renault-Nissan Alliance in boosting electric vehicles? In addition to regulatory hurdles the concept would face, such cooperation seems like a long shot.

News source: Autoblog

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